Black-Owned Galleries to Support across the United States
Portrait of Meisha Johnson, owner of Neema Gallery, with her daughter. Photo by Ruta Smith. Courtesy of Neema Gallery.
Though they faced many obstacles historically—and still do today—Black gallerists in the United States have been hugely influential. Black dealers have launched the careers of artists who are now considered canonical and have worked with collectors intent on lifting up the voices of individuals from historically underrepresented communities. The work that Black dealers do is absolutely vital and must be recognized and supported by the art community at large.
Below, we take a closer look at art spaces across the United States founded or run (in part or entirely) by Black gallerists. We will be adding to this list continually and welcome your input. We’ll also be presenting a separate piece looking at spaces run by Black gallerists outside of the U.S. If you know of a Black-owned gallery we’re missing here, or if there is an international gallery we should be aware of, please let us know by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Black-owned gallery.”
Hearne Fine Art
Little Rock, Arkansas
Founded in 1988 by wife-and-husband duo Garbo and Archie Hearne, Hearne Fine Art set out to bring greater visibility to the work of African American artists in Arkansas. Their gallery in Little Rock’s historic Dunbar neighborhood has hosted countless exhibitions over the past 32 years, spanning from painting and printmaking to folk art and photography, and featuring works by artists such as Phoebe Beasley, Kevin Cole, Sylvester McKissick, and Latoya Hobbs. Discussing her sense of responsibility toward the artists the gallery shows, Garbo Hearne said in a 2019 profile, “They just need somewhere to sell their art. It’s a privilege to provide that.”
Paulson Fontaine Press is a Bay Area gallery and print shop specializing in intaglio prints (think etchings, engravings, et cetera). The press is spearheaded by master printer Pam Paulson and Rhea Fontaine, the latter of whom was recognized in 2016 as the first African American woman to publish fine art prints. In 1997, the press launched its first edition with four color etchings by Christopher Brown, and has since published hundreds of editions with dozens of artists including Tauba Auerbach, Ross Bleckner, Spencer Finch, Kerry James Marshall, and Martin Puryear.
Residency Art Gallery
Located in Inglewood in Los Angeles County, Residency Art Gallery champions artists creating work for communities of color and other historically marginalized people. Founded by Inglewood native Rick Garzon, the gallery aims to foster dialogue between artists, activists, and their communities. In 2019, Residency exhibited a group show titled “Mappings,” which included artists Diedrick Brackens, Kris Chau, Jeffrey Cheung, Adee Roberson, Grace Rosario Perkins, Gabriella Sanchez, Ashley Teamer, and Sam Vernon, and highlighted various explorations of place.
Band of Vices
Los Angeles, California
Band of Vices was founded in 2015 by veteran screen actor and prolific collector Terrell Tilford after his first gallery, Tilford Art Group in New York City, closed its doors in 2010. Tilford, who has over 10 years of experience with collecting, has turned Band of Vices into a formidable player in Los Angeles’s gallery-heavy West Adams Art District. Recent exhibitions have showcased work by rising artists such as Grace Lynne Haynes, Yoyo Lander, and Shantell Martin.
Los Angeles, California
Dominique Clayton opened her eponymous gallery in Los Angeles’s West Adams neighborhood in 2018 after years spent in the art world as a manager, curator, and writer, including in her current position at The Broad museum. The result of all this experience is Dominique Gallery, “a pop-up exhibition and online program which showcases and advises emerging artists of color and women,” according to Clayton’s LinkedIn. The gallery has shown work by Denae Howard, Mustafa Ali Clayton and Atiya Jones, among others.
Nous Tous Community Gallery
Los Angeles, California
Nous Tous is part gallery, part store, and part community event space, all packed into a colorful storefront in Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood. Launched by dancer and designer Maceo Paisley and designer Teresa Hu in 2016, in four years, the space has hosted exhibitions devoted to artists Chinaedu Nwadibia, Lorenzo Diggins, Jr., Panteha Abareshi, and many more, while fostering a diverse community of designers, photographers, painters, sculptors, and other creatives.
Founded in 2010 by Oakland native Anyka Barber, Betti Ono is an arts and culture space in Downtown Oakland’s Black Arts Movement & Business District (BAMBD). In addition to selling local art and design objects, Betti Ono also offers year-round public programming for the community. In 2018, Betti Ono was named Best of the Bay for “Boutique Art Gallery” by Oakland Magazine, and was also listed as one of five reasons to visit Oakland by Essence twice.
Burnt Oak Gallery
Based in Oakland, California, Burnt Oak Gallery offers a wide range of community-centered events, spanning from art exhibitions and pop-ups to film screenings and comedy nights. In recent years, Burnt Oak Gallery has exhibited group shows centering on social justice initiatives, like its collaboration with the grassroots organization Art for Change 818.
Thelma Harris Art Gallery
Thelma Harris Gallery specializes in both contemporary and historical Black artists, from modern names like Claude Clark and Jonathan Green to Harlem Renaissance acolytes Palmer Hayden and Aaron Douglas. The gallery, started in 1987 by dealer Thelma Harris, accepts artists at any stage of their career, and features those working in painting, sculpture, and mixed-media art, among other media.
Los Angeles, California
Superposition is the brainchild of artist and curator Storm Ascher, who started the nomadic gallery in 2018. Designed with the “life of the nomadic artist and resident” in mind, Superposition presents curatorial projects in various “borrowed spaces” in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. These presentations include exhibitions by Java Jones, Ludovic Nkoth, and Haleigh Nickerson, as well as a semi-regular interview series that can be found on the gallery’s website.
San Francisco, California; Brooklyn, New York
Karen Jenkins-Johnson founded her namesake gallery in San Francisco in 1996, and over the years, she has turned it into a powerhouse within the Bay Area art community. The gallery shows artists like Black Arts Movement members Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell; Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop; collage and video artist Rashaad Newsome; and the Bahamaian painter Lavar Munroe. In 2017, Jenkins-Johnson expanded to Brooklyn, opening a project space in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood. The programming there has been a mix of solo exhibitions and guest-curated group shows, featuring exhibitions organized by curators including Larry Ossei-Mensah, Jasmine Wahi, and Dexter Wimberly, and by artists such as Zanele Muholi and Derrick Adams.
Founded in 2020 by local entrepreneur Fa’al Ali, Denver’s ILA Gallery is dedicated to street art and empowering community through culture. “Being a black minority in Denver, I just want to empower everybody that I can but keep where I come from in the forefront of my mind and my business,” Ali told Denver’s Westword. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to teach people to appreciate art and use art as an investment and as assets.”
Anderson Brickler Gallery
Anderson Brickler Gallery in Tallahassee, Florida was founded in 2017 by Dr. Celeste Hart, who opened the gallery space on the first floor of the building where she practices, the same building that her grandfather built to house his own medical practice in 1954. Hart, a long-time collector, debuted the space with a showing of Romare Bearden’s work from her own collection. Since then, Anderson Brickler’s repertoire has expanded to include modern, post-war and contemporary artists, all with a focus on artists from the African diaspora.
Jumaane N’Namdi grew up around art. In 1981, his father started G.R. N’Namdi Gallery in Detroit, and Jumaane joined him at the helm of the gallery’s Chicago output when he graduated from Morehouse College in 1997. In 2012, after helping to expand G.R. N’Namdi Gallery to New York, Jumaane started N’Namdi Contemporary in Miami to bring his 15 years of experience to a new city. N’Namdi Contemporary represents blue-chip African American artists such as Ed Clark, Frank Bowling, Al Loving, and Robert Colescott.
When marketing executive–turned–gallerist Arnika Dawkins opened the doors of her eponymous gallery in 2011, she did so with a commitment to representing Black artists. “It’s a challenge for any talented artist to have their work seen,” she told Atlanta magazine, “but it’s even more so for people of color.” From well-known photographers like Gordon Parks to French-Senagalese portrait photographer Delphine Diallo, Dawkins represents artists with a wide range of experience and a variety of styles. Through July 15th, Dawkins is running a COVID-19 relief effort—proceeds from a print sale will be donated through Feeding America, a nationwide network serving communities in need.
September Gray Gallery represents artists of the African diaspora at all stages of their careers. Before her career as a gallerist, founding director September Gray worked in the performing arts, as well as at an arts consultancy firm. Most recently, the gallery hosted the exhibition “The Four Horsemen,” focusing on four Black masters of abstraction: Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Richard Hunt, and William T. Williams.
ZuCot Gallery in historic Castleberry Hill, Atlanta, is the largest Black-owned gallery in the American Southeast. Founder Troy Taylor named the gallery after his grandmother, Frances Ann Taylor, whose fierce reputation as one of the first female grocers in the local market earned her comparisons to a tough “zoo cat”—or ZuCot. Taylor says that “the name of the gallery is a tribute to the pioneers and giants whose shoulders we stand on,” and ZuCot’s exhibitions reflect that philosophy. Recent exhibitions include “HER,” a survey of emerging Black female artists such as Georgette Baker and LaToya Hobbs, as well as “4HUNDRED,” a group show focused on tracing the legacy of the Black experience in America.
Sabree’s Gallery of the Arts
Patricia Elaine Sabree started her eponymous Savannah gallery as an outlet and archive for artwork related to the Gullah culture native to the coastal low country in states like Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Sabree is originally from a town in that region called Lake City, which is in South Carolina. She uses her roots in the Gullah experience to create the bright, blocky, intensely evocative paintings that she also sells through her gallery.
Isimeme “Easy” Otabor is a fixture in Chicago’s creative community. He’s worked at various clothing stores including RSVP Gallery and Saint Alfred, and created his own label, Infinite Archives. Otabor added “gallerist” to his résumé last December when he opened Anthony Gallery, which focuses on contemporary art and welcomes collaborations and aesthetic partnerships. In addition to presenting group shows featuring the work of visual artists such as Nina Chanel Abney and Sterling Ruby, the gallery has also presented hip hop–focused photography and a collaboration with Jordan Brand in anticipation of the new Retro Air Jordan XI ‘Bred.’
Located in Chicago’s Bronzeville Artist Lofts, Gallery Guichard was opened in 2005 by owners Andre Guichard, Frances Guichard, and Stephen Mitchell. The gallery’s mission is to spotlight underrepresented artists of the African diaspora. In addition to a wide range of exhibitions, the gallery also hosts artist talks and events, and offers art services to the community including framing, crating, shipping, and moving.
At E&S Gallery in Louisville, Kentucky, Walter and Cathy Shannon present contemporary art alongside that of older generations. The Shannons sell work by artists including 20th-century luminary Elizabeth Catlett, self-taught sculptor Kimmy Cantrell, and the wildly influential Jacob Lawrence. Walter Shannon has been selling art since the 1970s and has built up a national collector base from Louisville: According to a recent profile, both Sinbad and Muhammad Ali have been clients.
KAWD Art Gallery
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
KAWD Art Gallery was founded in 2018 by artist, gallerist, and activist Kristen Downing as a venue “to educate, inspire, and increase social consciousness” by featuring both her own work and the work of local artists. “I don’t feel like the classrooms are teaching enough,” Downing told225 Magazine. “I want to be the voice for my people and open up doors for my people. I feel like this is my shot to do that.” In addition to showing works by artists like Caroline Youngblood, John Alleyne, and George Galbreath, KAWD Art plays hosts to a wide array of events, including keynote talks and brunches.
Axiom Fine Art Gallery
New Orleans, Louisiana
Axiom Fine Art Gallery in uptown New Orleans hosts exhibitions by local artists whose practices range from figurative painting to photography to fashion, and more. The gallery also hosts monthly events, including film screenings and live music performances.
Stella Jones Gallery
New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in downtown New Orleans, Stella Jones Gallery was started by Dr. Stella Jones and her husband Harry in 1996. The gallery focuses on African American art, as well as contemporary African and Caribbean art. Past exhibitions have centered on printmaker and painter Samella Lewis and artist Jammie Holmes—who recently garnered attention for his project commemorating George Floyd—and the gallery has also mounted a retrospective on the trailblazing Chicago Black Arts Movement commune AfriCOBRA.
Terrance Osborne Gallery
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans–based artist Terrance Osborne sells his vividly colored paintings through his eponymous gallery, located on Magazine Street near the city’s 11th Ward neighborhood. Osborne has been an active member of the New Orleans art scene since the 1990s, when he began to paint under the tutelage of Richard Thomas, and has continued up through the modern day with designs for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and collaborations with Nike. His paintings render his home city and its inhabitants in fantastically dreamy hues.
Galerie Myrtis is built on more than 30 years of art-world experience from founder Myrtis Bedolla. In addition to her roles as art advisor and founding director of the gallery, Bedolla has also curated shows at the National Museum of Niger, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American Art in Detroit, and the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, D.C. Galerie Myrtis hosts around six exhibitions a year, and past shows have included artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Delilah Pierce, Amy Sherald, and Charles White. The gallery also hosts a recurring live talk series, “Tea with Myrtis,” in which artists and art professionals discuss trends in the art world.
The Gallery About Nothing
The Gallery About Nothing—which shares its space with the Mini Hip Hop Museum—can be found on East Baltimore Street in the Jonestown neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. Founded by Mark Shawn Clarke Jr. in 2018, in addition to showing the work of local artists, the space also hosts hip hop–themed game nights as well as sip and paint (and puff and paint) nights for the community. “We’re really giving our all to this art hustle,” Maya Camille, the brains behind the Mini Hip Hop Museum, told CBS Baltimore. “This is the perfect place to learn, grow yourself and propel you forward.”
New Door Creative seeks to highlight both established and emerging artists who work across a variety of media and focus on topics ranging from personal identity to gentrification. Since opening the gallery in 2004, artist and founder Michelle Talibah has exhibited emerging and mid-career artists including James Phillips, Adger Cowans, and Morgan Monceaux, as well as blue-chip artists like Faith Ringgold, Richard Mayhew, and David C. Driskell.
Established in Baltimore’s Barclay neighborhood in 2017 by curator and scholar Joy Davis, Waller Gallery is a multidisciplinary art space with a focus on art created by people of color. “I think it’s important to have black- and brown-owned galleries and cultural spaces, and to continue that legacy,” Davis told the Baltimore Fishbowl in 2018. “It’s not just about black- and brown-owned galleries, it’s about what kind of art they’re showing.” Davis, who grew up just outside of the city, lives above the gallery.
Overdue Recognition Gallery
Overdue Recognition Gallery is a multi-pronged art institution, offering exhibition space, onsite art consultation, corporate and auction art advising, fundraising, and even custom framing services. The gallery, located in Bowie, Maryland, is focused on promoting works by Black artists including Anthony Armstrong, James Denmark, and Paul Goodnight—artists that founders Jackie and Derrick Thompson feel embody the gallery’s name. “We chose the name because for too long African American artists have struggled for recognition against their peers,” Jackie told Copa Style.
Boston and Miami metropolitan areas
1Percent Gallery is an art consulting and virtual gallery that operates in and around the Boston and Miami areas.The gallery’s mission centers around expanding art spaces to be more inclusive and easily accessible for people of all ages. The gallery, which was founded in 2012, represents a wide array of creative workers, including visual artists, musicians, fashion designers, and skateboarders. Although the gallery doesn’t have a permanent physical space, it maintains its practice by variously renting out spaces and placing works at other galleries, as well as by maintaining a virtual gallery that visitors can enter on its website. The gallery has shown artists including Rashad Nelson, Erik Skoldberg, and Lavaughan Jenkins, among others.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Knowhere was founded in 2019 by Valerie Francis and Ralph H. Groce III, who imagine the space not only as an art gallery, but also as a site for education and cultural exchange—hence the inclusion of “know” in the gallery’s name. “The gallery is here to be informative and provoke thought about what’s happening in the world,” Francis told the MV Times. “We want people to walk away with more than the experience of seeing something pretty, but also being informed.” The gallery has shown works by artists including Rhonda K. Brown, Stephanie Y. Danforth, and Wendy J. Weldon.
Art for the Soul Gallery
Art for the Soul Gallery was founded in 1999 when friends Stella Butler and the gallery’s current executive director, Rosemary “Tracy” Woods, decided to transform their at-home art parties into a fully functioning gallery. Art for the Soul currently has two locations where it hosts exhibitions centering on themes of race, identity, and history. In recent years, the gallery has hosted exhibitions featuring the work of artists like Frank Morrison, Dean Nimmer, and Paul Goodnight.
Norwest Gallery of Art
Norwest Gallery of Art was founded by Asia Hamilton in February 2018. Situated in the northwest of Detroit, Norwest Gallery centers on contemporary African diasporic art from both regional and international artists. Recent presentations at the gallery have ranged from “Hairarchy,” a show celebrating the rich cultural history of Black hair, to “Roots: Detroit,” an exhibition aimed at teaching new land and water stewardship strategies to the community. Norwest Gallery also offers art advisory and collection management services to collectors.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Muse GR is an interactive art gallery and event space, founded in 2018. Artists and community members are invited to make use of the gallery for a variety of purposes, from creating in a collaborative studio space to hosting events or facilitating workshops. Muse aims to provide an uplifting environment to the community by fostering the ever-changing nature of art and creativity.
Collingswood, New Jersey
Galerie Marie founder Kimberly Camp had more than four decades of art world experience under her belt by the time she opened her Collingswood, New Jersey, space in 2013. Not only has Camp worked as an artist—she showed her paintings and hand-crafted dolls in the American Craft Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and the International Sculpture Center—but she also has institutional experience. Camp worked as the president and CEO of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the Charles Wright Museum in Detroit, and was also the head of the Smithsonian’s Experimental Gallery incubator. After retiring in 2011, Camp funneled her decades of far-ranging experience into a storefront gallery space named for her mother Marie, where she shows her own work alongside that of more than 200 artists from across the world.
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Payne’s eponymous gallery, located on Marcy Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the product of 30 years of art dealing experience. Before opening his Santa Fe gallery in 2006, Payne worked at New York’s Sid Deutsch Gallery, where he started in 1989 and became director in 1991. Even before entering the field, Payne was surrounded by art—his parents collected Romare Bearden, David Hammons, Betye Saar, and other contemporary Black painters, and he went to gallery openings and LACMA shows as a child. The result of that deep knowledge is a gallery with a wide range of focus, exhibiting artists ranging from American Modernists and the Stieglitz Circle to the Santa Fe Art Colony, the Taos Moderns, and the Washington Color School, among others.
Dorsey’s Art Gallery
Brooklyn, New York
Located in Brooklyn, Dorsey’s Art Gallery is the oldest, continuously run, Black-owned and -operated art gallery in New York City. Founded by Lawrence Peter Dorsey in 1970, the then–gallery/frame shop became a haven for Black artists and collectors. Regulars included Ernest Crichlow, Tom Feelings, Elizabeth Catlett, Arthur Coppedge, Bob Blackborn, Otto Neals, James Denmark, Jacob Lawrence, Ann Tanksley, Christopher Gonzales, Emmett Wigglesworth, and James Brown, among many others. Though Dorsey died in 2007, the gallery has been passed down to his daughter Laurette and members of the community.
Ground Floor Gallery
Brooklyn, New York
Founded in 2013 by Krista Scenna and Jill Benson in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, Ground Floor Gallery shows local artists and nurtures nascent art collectors. In their seven years running the space, Scenna and Benson have tried to program exhibitions of affordable works—from summer shows of mail art to presentations devoted to prints or artist-designed gifts—as well as ambitious thematic solo and group shows that have included the works of Ronald Hall, Tammy Nguyen, and Karen Mainenti.
Brooklyn, New York
In 2016, KJ Freeman opened Housing in Bed-Stuy as an antidote to the traditional white cube. “The white cube can determine a representation of white supremacy,” Freeman once told Spike. “A twenty-thousand-dollar white cube stands stagnant in a buzzing retail district to appease, and to conform to the desires of the cultured and affluent of the world.” In 2017, the Bed-Stuy space closed, and for a couple of years the gallery found temporary locales for one-off shows, which championed Black artists and artists of color. Housing recently signed a three-year lease in the Lower East Side, opening their new space earlier this month. Their inaugural show, “Vigil for Black Death,” features video work by artists such as Keijaun Thomas and Sofia Moreno, shown on a screen that can be seen through the gallery’s window. Visitors are invited to bring flowers, candles, and other expressions of their grief to the site.
Kente Royal Gallery
New York, New York
Kente Royal Gallery was founded in Harlem in 2019 by Phyllis and Dodji Gbedemah. After a trip to Africa the year prior, the pair was inspired to establish a place in New York where they could “connect and strengthen the African Diaspora through Art,” as stated on the gallery’s website. Kente Royal Gallery is built around the central focus of community-building inherent in the Ghanian spiritual concept of Sankofa, which urges a “return to the Motherland Africa” and the use of traditions to “propel us into the future.” Since its soft launch, the gallery has hosted exhibitions by the painter Gabrielle Baker, textile artist William Daniels, and photographers Bertram Knight and Alejandro Garcia. The gallery has also hosted exhibitions in support of Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 relief.
Brooklyn, New York
Driven by a desire to explore “understated dialogues around black art,” in 2017, cultural producer and editor Stephanie Baptist turned her Brooklyn apartment into a gallery and project space dedicated to emerging contemporary artists. Her program highlights underrepresented young Black artists including Ayana Evans, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Milo Matthieu, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, and Marcus Leslie Singleton.
Brooklyn, New York
In a 2016 interview, gallerist Richard Beavers recalled how his encounter with artist Alonzo Adams’s painting The Journeyman changed the course of his life. “This image of a black man shirtless and barefoot, with a pair of blue jeans and knapsack over his shoulder walking into a tunnel of darkness, gave me goosebumps. The man in the painting was me,” Beavers said. “It was a confirmation that I wasn’t alone in the world and that there was someone else who was starting over again not certain of what the future may hold.” Beavers founded his gallery in 2007 in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where he shows works by artists including the storied Black photographer Jamel Shabazz and the emerging painter Genesis Tramaine.
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn’s sk.ArtSpace was founded by Symone Wong, Jarryn Mercer, and Melissa Sutherland in June 2018 with the goal of creating a safe space and platform for community members to show their work and for emerging artists to expand their audience. “As a creative, sharing yourself and your work is very challenging. A lot of creatives do not know where to begin, what kind of dialogues to have, or even how to get their work into shows,” the co-founders told Refinery29. “Typically, the local creatives in our community have access to exhibits that are held at local bars and establishments that took away from the experience of artists.” Artists can apply to show at sk.ArtSpace here.
Brooklyn, New York
Located in a 19th-century townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Welancora Gallery was initially founded by art dealer, curator, and Brooklyn native Ivy N. Jones in 2002, then re-launched in 2014. Welancora is also a space for guest curators of color to arrange exhibitions. The gallery’s most recent show featured the work of seven Black artists (Zalika Azim, Elliot Jerome Brown Jr., Colette Veasey-Cullors, Melvin Harper, Daonne Huff, Anders Jones, and Deborah Willis) and was co-curated by the artist Damien Davis.
New York, New York
Established in 1993, Bill Hodges Gallery highlights prominent modern and contemporary artists of the African diaspora. The gallery is primarily known for its roster of Harlem Renaissance and Abstract Expressionist artists, including Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Sam Gilliam. Every summer, Bill Hodges Gallery hosts a multimedia group exhibition with artists who exemplify the diversity of Black artistry. The 2021 edition featured the works of Lorna Simpson, Marisol Escobar, and others.
New York, New York
Black Gotham originated when its founder, Kamau Ware, was working at New York’s Tenement Museum and giving walking tours on the history of New York City’s immigrants of the 19th and early 20th centuries. After one tour, a young Black girl asked Ware, “Where were the Black people?” That question led him to establish Black Gotham’s walking tours, which focuses on the historic impact of the African diaspora. Black Gotham also creates graphic novels, and has a gallery and event space in Lower Manhattan where artworks from these projects can viewed in person.
New York, New York
Originally founded in 2007 as Number 35 Gallery, Cindy Rucker Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood has a roster of international artists who work across disciplines. Among its artists are Japanese sculptor Hirosuke Yabe, who has garnered great attention for his carved wooden sculptures; the Spanish mixed-media artist Javier Arce; and American painter Charles Dunn. Shows at Cindy Rucker have been reviewed in countless publica
Essie Green Galleries
New York, New York
Originally located in Park Slope, Essie Green Galleries opened its first exhibition on December 15, 1979. Its roster of 19th- and 20th-century Black masters includes artists like Romare Bearden, Charles Alston, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles Ethan Porter, and Sam Gilliam. Since moving to Harlem’s Sugar Hill neighborhood in 1989, the gallery has become a vital centerpiece of the community’s Black cultural renaissance.
Gallery Kendra Jayne Patrick
New York, New York
Kendra Jayne Patrick has run her eponymous, itinerant gallery program (previously known as Harrison) since 2018, primarily mounting shows at art spaces and temporary locations in New York. Patrick has shown a range of young, international artists, including Qualeasha Wood, Kenya (Robinson), Lap-See Lam, Joshua Citarella, and Ivan Argote. The gallery recently participated in NADA’s online sales platform FAIR.
New York, New York
New York’s Heath Gallery was founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife artists Thomas Edwin Heath and Saundra Alexis Heath. Operating out of a landmark townhouse (built in 1886) on Central Harlem’s 120th Street, the gallery opened as a space to give artists opportunities to show their work, with priority given to those based in the neighborhood. The gallery also hosts “Hang Nights,” where artists are invited to show up with their work and hang it Salon style throughout the evening.
June Kelly Gallery
New York, New York
June Kelly founded her eponymous gallery in SoHo in 1987, after managing Romare Bearden’s career for 13 years. Kelly’s diverse roster includes influential Black artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Norman W. Lewis, Moe Brooker, and Debra Priestly. Alongside iconic dealer Linda Goode Bryant, Kelly helped build a New York gallery scene in the ’80s that was more accommodating to Black artists. “We’re like the guide that helps [the artist] through it,” Kelly has said of her role as a gallery director. “This is a person who goes in that studio alone, creates alone, there’s no one to tell him or her what to do—that all comes from within. So the most important thing you can do…is to make sure that that person has somebody to say ‘Fantastic, I love it, keep doing it,’ and that’s the key.”
New York, New York
Harlem-based Long Gallery has honed an ethos inspired by the art of its local community—from the photography of the Harlem Renaissance to the Studio Museum in Harlem. Owner Lewis Long founded the gallery in 2014 with a mission to show both emerging and established artists of the African diaspora, while also giving a spotlight to underrepresented artists. In recent years, the gallery has shown esteemed and rising artists, such as Kennedy Yanko, Bisa Butler, Arcmanoro Niles, and Derek Fordjour.
Peg Alston Fine Arts
New York, New York
Founded by New York–based art dealer Peg Alston nearly 40 years ago, Peg Alston Fine Arts is a gallery on Central Park West between 100th and 101st Streets that specializes in artworks by African American artists as well as artists of all African descent. Alston’s gallery has its own exclusive roster of artists including Romare Bearden, Anthony Barboza, and Antonio Carreno. It also sells works by artists it doesn’t represent, including Sam Gilliam, Betye Saar, Howardena Pindell, Frank Bowling, and Faith Ringgold.
New York, New York
Established in 1992, Skoto Gallery was among the first spaces to specialize in representing contemporary African artists in New York City. Since then, the gallery has expanded its mission to become a nexus for artists of any ethnic or cultural persuasion, allowing African art to be in conversation with the global cultural dialogue. It currently represents artists including Uche Okeke, Ifeoma Anyaeji, Ibrahim El Salahi, and Osaretin Ighile.
The Compound Gallery
The Bronx, New York
Since the early 2000s, Set Free Richardson has run The Compound in the South Bronx, the creative agency where he works on campaigns for major brands and invites friends and creatives to meet and exchange ideas. In 2018, Richardson opened The Compound Gallery nearby—a natural extension of the original business—together with Yasiin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def). The gallery shows artists and art forms that are underrepresented and often excluded from the gallery system, from rising street artists to legendary photographers who’ve captured the hip-hop community.
Mackey Twins Art Gallery
Mount Vernon, New York
Karen and Sharon Mackey founded the Mackey Twins Art Gallery in 2004 in order to address the lack of representation and support for artists of color in the art industry. The sisters—twins, as the gallery name indicates—are both former high school teachers who purchased their first work, a James Denmark print, over 40 years ago by pooling their salaries. The gallery now represents Denmark, along with other iconic Black artists such as Elizabeth Catlett and Jacob Lawrence. The Mackey sisters are also actively involved with the City College of New York: Sharon is the executive director of continuing and professional studies, while Karen is the vice president of government, community, and cultural affairs.
Southampton, New York
Tripoli Patterson was 24 years old when he opened his eponymous gallery in Southampton, New York. A longtime acquaintance of art world luminaries like Lisa de Kooning and Julian Schnabel—as well as a former surf champion—Patterson started his gallery in 2009 as a “dynamic platform for artistic dialogue between local and international artists and the East End community,” hosting parties and showing works by artists like Eric Fischl, Katherine Bernhardt, and Tracey Emin. In 2020, Patterson prepared to open a new space in Wainscott, but had to postpone due to COVID-19.
Framed Gallery, situated in Cleveland’s Waterloo arts district, focuses on emerging, mid-career, and established Black artists. Founder Stacey Bartels worked as an arts educator for more than 20 years before opening the gallery in 2018. She has exhibited artists including Antwoine Washington, Charly Palmer, Evita Tezeno, and Preston Sampson, among many others.
Willis Bing Art Studio & EbonNia Gallery
The Willis Bing Art Studio exhibits paintings, drawings, and other media by Willis “Bing” Davis, an interdisciplinary artist and educator who has exhibited in institutions from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Design in Baltimore to the Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, Germany. Davis retired from his teaching in 1998 to establish the adjacent EbonNia Gallery, which features work from both regional and national artists.
Left of Center Art Gallery
Las Vegas, Nevada
Left of Center Art Gallery is an artist-supported and -administered nonprofit art space in Las Vegas, Nevada, which first opened in 1987 and is run by longtime community organizer Vicki Richardson. In addition to being an exhibition space, Left of Center also provides mentoring, teaching, and studio space for artists, and advocates for the arts in public education by working directly with students and art educators throughout their community.
Charlotte, North Carolina
BlkMrkt is a gallery, studio, and event space in Charlotte, North Carolina. Its team of four creatives—Sir Will, Carey J. King, Dammit Wesley, and Carla Lopez—operates the space, offering local photographers and artists of color a safe, creative atmosphere to work in. BlkMrkt also hosts a variety of exhibitions and workshops for local artists and the community, in addition to operating as a general-use event space.
Dupp & Swat
Charlotte, North Carolina
Dupp & Swat—the brainchild of siblings Dion (“Dupp”) and Davita (“Swat”) Galloway—is a multifunctional community space that sells work by local artists and collaborates with nonprofits in addition to offering community events and programming. “I see where the city uses artists to attract people to the city, yet they close our galleries,” Davita told the Charlotte Observer. “You need to support the culture, you need to support art, you need to support creative expression in Charlotte before another one bites the dust.”
Black Wall Street Gallery
Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood district, historically known as Black Wall Street, is a thriving community with a history of Black entreupenurship that dates back over 100 years. In 1921, its prosperity also made it the target of one of the worst instances of racial violence in American history. Today, Black Wall Street Gallery is a staple of the neighborhood. Founded in 2018 by activist, educator, philosopher, and Tulsa native Dr. Ricco Wright—who is currently running for mayor of the city—Black Wall Street Gallery aims to bring the community together through arts, theater, and education.
Moody Jones Gallery
Opened by husband-and-wife duo Adrian J. Moody and Robyn R. Jones in 2016, Moody Jones Gallery focuses on emerging and established artists from the African diaspora. The gallery was born out of the couple’s desire to show and sell works from their personal collection. “As collectors for many years, we came to know many artists, and once we opened, we renewed those relationships,” they told Artsy Editorial. The gallery is also a space for art-related lectures and readings.
The Spite Haus
After over a decade of working in New York City’s museums and galleries, husband-and-wife team Curtis and Erin-Batson Edwards moved to Philadelphia, where they opened The Spite Haus in 2019. The Spite Haus is a home for vintage and contemporary design objects and homewares, as well as an exhibition space for emerging artists. Its online shop is home to both design and fine art, with prints starting at price points as accessible as $40.
Rush Arts Philadelphia
Rush Arts Philadelphia opened in the city’s Logan neighborhood in 2016 with an exhibition that responded directly to recent and ongoing protest movements, including Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. That activist spirit has remained at the core of the space’s programs. In the last two years, its exhibitions have ranged in theme from portraits of victims of gun violence, to “Giving Up The Ghost: Artifacts/A Study of Power and Solidarity Against White Violence in Modernity” (a show curated by Niama Safia Sandy), to street photography by Jay Potter, and, just before the pandemic hit, to an exhibition of large-scale drawings made by Imo Nse Imeh in response to a racist children’s book and nursery rhyme from the early 20th century.
Boom Concepts is a community arts organization “dedicated to the development of artist and creative entrepreneurs representing marginalized voices,” according to its website. The organization—which is run out of its flagship location in the Penn Avenue Arts & Commercial District in Pittsburgh—hosts exhibitions, screenings, community events, concerts, parties, and fundraisers. As a response to COVID-19, the organization has shifted its focus from monthly public exhibitions to an artist residency program that provides recipients with a stipend, access to gallery space for 30 to 45 days, and regular critiques.
Charleston, South Carolina
Like Sabree’s Gallery of the Arts in Savannah, Georgia, Gallery Chuma celebrates the creativity of the Gullah people—the descendants of enslaved Africans who settled off the south Atlantic coast in isolated communities during the 19th century. Run by Chuma Nwokike out of Charleston, South Carolina, Gallery Chuma represents artists including James Denmark, Jonathan Green, John W. Jones, Carol A. Simmons, and Irene Tison. Nwokike also sells hats made by his sister, Grace Mark, which line the gallery walls.
Charleston, South Carolina
Owned by Meisha Johnson, Neema Gallery features a roster composed entirely of top African American artists from the South, including James Denmark, Tyrone Geter, Otto Neals, potters Winton and Rosa Eugene, and civil rights photographer Cecil Williams. Johnson is an artist herself. “My goal, and I want to make this clear—I don’t want to be the only African American–owned gallery in town,” she said in a 2019 interview. “My goal is to help increase diversity. And it’s my goal that even maybe some of these artists, once they do well, they may open a gallery.” Around the corner, Johnson recently opened a second space, Gallery Elevate, featuring African American artists from across the U.S. “It’s a place where we’ll nurture beginning collectors,” Johnson said.
Art Village Gallery
Art Village Gallery in downtown Memphis is focused on promoting the work of artists from Africa and its diaspora—including the work of its co-founder, Ephraim Urevbu. Urevbu founded the gallery with his wife Sheila in 1991 after recognizing the lack of spaces for “for minority artists in the local art scene,” as he told Choose901. In its nearly three decades of operation, Art Village Gallery has become a cornerstone of the city’s South Main Arts District as well as its monthly art walk, and has utilized its three exhibition spaces, spanning over 7,000 square feet, to host arts events of all kinds, from gallery talks to documentary viewings.
Bisong Art Gallery
Carla Bisong founded her eponymous gallery in downtown Houston in 2013. Situated inside a 1,300-square-foot loft, Bisong Art Gallery provides a platform for artists and art patrons to connect. In addition to presenting exhibitions, the gallery also hosts various community-centered events like workshops and painting classes. Bisong Art Gallery presents works from a range of artists including Mark Nesmith, Zahra Ali, and Anna Ganina. It also offers a grant sponsorship that provides young artists with resources to help hone their craft.
The Well Art Gallery
The Well Art Gallery is an exhibition space located in the Blackwell neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, with an emphasis on elevating and supporting Black artists. The gallery was founded in 2018 by Richmond natives James Harris and Ajay Brewer—Brewer also owns the coffee shop Brewer’s Café less than two blocks from the gallery—and is named after a longtime nickname for the neighborhood. Artists are currently welcome to submit their work on the gallery’s website.
Martyr Sauce is a vibrant gallery and art space located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district. Founded in 2013 by artist Tariqa Waters, Martyr Sauce is the antithesis of a traditional commercial gallery and rejects the norms that come along with such spaces. In addition to presenting work by underrepresented artists, the gallery functions as a beauty retail shop and a music practice space for Waters’s husband.
Wa Na Wari
Wa Na Wari gallery, established in 2019, is located in a fifth-generation Black-owned home in Seattle’s historically redlined Central District. Wa Na Wari means “our home” in Kalabari, a language spoken in southern Nigeria. Co-founder Inye Wokoma has Kalabri ancestors, and the gallery was named to foster a connection with those roots. In addition to hosting exhibitions by local and regional Black artists, Wa Na Wari serves as a space for workshops, performances, lectures, and community organizing. The gallery also manages an oral history studio that facilitates the sharing of stories of Seattle’s historically Black Central District.
Art of Noize
Opened in 2017 in Washington, D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood, Art of Noize is a multi-use arts space where artists can showcase work of all mediums. Far from a traditional gallery model, Art of Noize offers its space to be rented out for exhibitions, performances, screenings, readings, and more. The space is an intimate setting that Art of Noize refers to as its “living room.”
Founded in 2014 by Washington, D.C., native Amir Browder, Homme DC is located in the capital’s O Street Studios, a creative hub of galleries, manufacturing, art studios, and retail spaces. Homme DC originally began as a pop-up shop, displaying the work of local artists and designers, but it soon took on a life of its own. “It became a cult-like following of these up-and-coming artists coming into the space. Then it started evolving from that to artists of all disciplines. I started getting really booked, and the space exploded,” Browder told Washingtonian. In addition to art, Homme DC continues to sell men’s apparel, accessories, and grooming products.
Before founding Mehari Sequar Gallery in 2019, Mehari Sequar—a native Eritrean who was raised in London—worked in Washington, D.C., as a real estate developer. Today, his gallery hosts exhibitions by a wide range of established, emerging, and international artists. The gallery’s most recent show was a collection of paintings by D.C. native Chris Pyrate. The space also hosts a film series, along with talks with local artists and creators.
11:Eleven Gallery opened in the fall of 2019, bringing British flavor to D.C.’s gallery scene. Before founding the gallery, London-born Nicola Charles worked at galleries, auction houses, and art festivals in the U.K. Her travels brought her to Washington, D.C., where she opened 11:Eleven Gallery to exhibit British contemporary and street art. Charles shows artists including Banksy, Marly McFly, Tracey Emin, and Zabou at her Truxton Circle space.
Zimstone Gallery was founded in 2002 by owner Jeff Brown. The gallery fosters artists of the African diaspora whose work highlights the strength of the human spirit. Zimstone features work by artists from Zimbabwe who create sculptures from stone, a practice frequently called Shona sculpture after the name of the largest tribe engaged in the technique. Brown, the gallery’s founder, has traveled to Zimbabwe to meet with master sculptors and select works to be featured at Zimstone.